Fun traditions associated with February 29th

1. Queen Margaret of Scotland was apparently five years old when she came up with the notorious February 29 proposal trap.

2. If a man did refuse the proposal, he would be fined a kiss, a silk dress or twelve pairs of gloves.

3. Women either have to wear breeches or a scarlet petticoat to pop the question, according to tradition.

4. One in five engaged couples in Greece will plan to avoid getting married in a leap year. They believe it is bad luck.

5. People born on February 29 are called “leaplings” or “leapers”. 6. The poet Lord Byron was born on a Leap Day.

7. So was the rapper Ja Rule.

8. The plot of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance revolved around Frederic’s discovery that, because he is a leapling, he must remain apprenticed to pirates and serve another 63 years before he can join Mabel, his one true love.

9. Anthony, Texas is the self-proclaimed “Leap Year Capital of the World”. It holds a festival which includes a guided trip to Aztec Cave, “fun at the horse farm” and square dancing.

10. Parties are sometimes thrown to celebrate leap days. There is no special leap day food but if there was, it would probably be frog’s legs – but not if the frog could help it.

12. Matthew Goode, the British film star who acted in the film Leap Year, said he knew the movie would be remembered as the “worst film of 2011” but wanted to be “close to home and able to visit his girlfriend and newborn daughter.”

13. February 29 also marks Rare Disease Day.

14. Today you are working for free if you’re on a fixed annual wage.

15. Astrologers believe people born on February 29 have unusual talents, such as the ability to burp the alphabet or paint like Picasso –  I wonder if Picasso could burp the alphabet?

16. Mitsukuni “honey” Haninozuka, the manga and anime character born on a leap day, likes sweets, cake and stuffed toys. It is joked that, although he’s 17, he’s really six years old.

17. Hugh Hefner opened his first Playboy Club on February 29 1960.

18. The character Leap Day William who appeared in an episode of 30 Rock wears blue and yellow.

19. The French call leapfrog “saute-mouton”, which translates literally as “leap sheep”.

20. The frog is a symbol associated with February 29. The Australian rocket frog can leap over two metres.

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